“Everybody” looking at 4WTC
By Sarah Trefethen
Among construction dust and high security, the office hub, transportation center, retail complex and public space of the new World Trade Center is steadily taking shape.
Four World Trade Center, the first of the buildings surrounding Memorial Park, is scheduled to be open for tenants to move in in the fall of 2013.
“As far as we’re concerned, we’re on schedule,” said Janno Lieber, president of World Trade Center Properties.
The 80 story, 2.3 million s/f tower is about half leased, with most of that space taken up by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. But Lieber said he’s confident that tenants will come forward for the rest of the building.
“They can see One World Trade Center and Four World Trade Center on the skyline,” he said. “That gives them the confidence to have more serious leasing discussions… Every company that’s out there in the marketplace is coming down and looking at how they would lay out their space.”
Seven World Trade Center, which opened one block away from the main site in 2006, is almost completely leased.
Because 4WTC is being built with insurance income and tax-exempt financing, Lieber said, asking rents in the building are approximately 30 percent less than what tenants would expect to pay for space in a new development downtown, offering “new, green, high-tech space at the price of an older office building.”
The building’s floorplates are each 30,000 to 40,000 s/f, Lieber said, and the developers are seeking tenants who will take at least one floor. The tower is supported by a core of high-density concrete and offers large swathes of column-free space surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows.
Safety features in the building include the high-density concrete core, which surrounds wide staircases of poured concrete, according to Frank Hussy of Tishman Construction, who is supervising the construction site. The ceiling beams are also coated with a layer of fireproofing designed to adhere strongly to the steel beams.
“Nothing can penetrate the core,” Hussey said. “Since 9/11 I’d say we went above and beyond to create the safest building possible.”
Beyond the building itself, the developers point to the location of the building as a strong draw for potential tenants.
Eleven subway stations converge in the vicinity, along with commuter ferries and the Path train, bringing in commuters from emerging residential neighborhoods in Brooklyn and New Jersey.
The Santiago Calatrava-designed transportation center, scheduled for completion in 2014, “is going to be one of the most exciting public spaces in all of New York,” Lieber said.
He also pointed out that the new development has restored streets that were blocked off by the old World Trade Center site, and will add hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail space to the neighborhood.
Access to the 8-acre Memorial Park is still controlled by security guards, but once construction is complete tenants expect to be able to come and go freely in the park, according to Jeremy Moss, vice president of leasing for Silverstein Properties.
“New Yorkers are taking what happened 11 years ago and responding by making a better New York,” Lieber said.
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